As a retired elementary school principal in West Islip and former education administrator at Dowling College, I was saddened and troubled by the Elwood school district's decision to cancel a traditional kindergarten play ["Elwood officials say no to kindergarten show," News, April 29].
Our goal for kindergarten should be to provide a happy, safe, creative and educational atmosphere that fosters a lifelong love of all learning.
I don't know whether Lane Filler was being sarcastic or attempting humor with his column on this topic ["Showdown over kindergarten show," Opinion, April 30]. Our parents didn't feel obligated to speed to school and watch their children "mumble about half the words to a series of songs about ducks, lambs and irresponsible livestock workers." Not funny!
One of my sincere pleasures was seeing these smiling kindergarten faces every day and watching the joy and pride experienced by their loved ones as they visited for the little ones' performances.
Whenever I was stressed during the school day, I would visit the kindergarten classes, and the world was right again.
Larry Kazemier, Bohemia
I read with dismay that Elwood schools decided to cancel a traditional kindergarten show because of the loss of academic time due to snow days.
Education has really gone astray if school officials have to decide between an annual, traditional day of exciting, artful expression or just another day of extreme academics for 5- and 6-year-old children.
In my career as an elementary music teacher in the Patchogue-Medford district, I witnessed 33 years of a firecracker kindergarten teacher the kids called "Mrs. Z" whipping up those shows for four classes. It was always a spectacular event and turned out to be a culmination of a whole year of work for the students. They always felt so special performing for their parents and other classes on that day.
We are losing the arts to the Common Core. There needs to be a balance. We are supposed to be educating the whole child.
I hope that Elwood school officials will reconsider.
Susan Berner, Patchogue
As a retired elementary school teacher with more than 30 years of experience in New York City schools, I disagree with Lane Filler's column. He felt it was his lucky day when his daughter's kindergarten performance was suddenly canceled? I'm sure his daughter didn't feel that way.
School productions teach necessary skills, such as working together in a group, public speaking, music appreciation and a sense of accomplishment when the performance comes to fruition.
Many of today's education policy-makers are too caught up in the Common Core, where reading and math are emphasized. Visual arts, music, dance and physical education seem to be becoming a thing of the past. School productions now join the list.
Ellen Kramer, Merrick